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  • Views of Ariake Sea and Unzen
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  • Mt. Kinbo trail
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  • Tengudaki Falls
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  • Reimei Falls
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  • Downstream of Reimei Falls
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Kumamoto Recreation Forest

2637.56ha

Elevation [Mount Kinbou](Lowest)200m (Overall)300―700m(Highest)700m
[Kikuchi Gorge](Lowest)500m (Overall)500―600m(Highest)900m

Explore the mountain paths that Musashi and Soseki once trod and visit Kikuchi Gorge,
an oasis for the people of Kumamoto Prefecture

Explore the mountain paths that Musashi and Soseki once trod and visit Kikuchi Gorge, an oasis for the people of Kumamoto Prefecture

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Video
movie.jpg  Dorone Footage
Area
Kyushu
Activities
Flower-viewing Autumn leaf viewing Waterfall viewing(Kikuchi Gorge) Birdwatching Picnics Mountain climbing (Mount Kinbo only/ Includes surrounding area) Kyushu natural trail Cycling Hot Spring(Outside the forest)
Overview
Geographical/topographical features
Mount Kinbo is a small, but significant double volcano. Mount Kinbo’s lava dome (665 m) is the central volcano, with parasitic cones located on the outer rim of Mount Kinbo’s caldera, including Ninodake (Kumanodake) (685 m) and Sannodake (681 m) on the northwestern side, and Mount Ohagi (420 m) and Mount Arao (445 m) on the eastern side, forming a long massif with a comparatively gentle slope running north to south.
Home to the headwaters of the clear Kikuchi River, Kikuchi Gorge is located between mountains with an elevation of 500–800 m stretching to the northwest of Mount Aso’s outer rim and boasts stunning scenery formed by an array of rapids, deep pools, and waterfalls, both large and small.
Historical/cultural features
In the Mount Kinbo area can be found Reigando Cave, famous as the place where Miyamoto Musashi wrote The Book of Five Rings, his treatise on the secrets of swordsmanship and strategy. There are also footpaths that provided the setting for Natsume Soseki’s novel Kusamakura (published in English first as The Three-cornered World and subsequently as Grass Pillow) and Toge-no-Chaya Park, which features spots mentioned in Soseki’s book.
The primeval natural beauty of Kikuchi Gorge has made it a popular location for filming TV dramas set in imaginary worlds with an air of antiquity.
Climate, flora and fauna
The annual average air temperature on Mount Kinbo is 16.9°C and its vegetation consists of lower-growing subtropical plants, along with a pure forest mainly made up of sugi, Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and hinoki, Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa). The subcanopy vegetation takes the form of shrubs such as arakashi, Japanese blue oak (Quercus glauca); kusunoki, camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora); yabunikkei, Japanese cinnamon (Cinnamomum pedunculatum); kunugi, sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima); and konara (Quercus serrata).
The annual average air temperature in Kikuchi Gorge is 15.6°C and its vegetation consists of lower-growing subtropical plants, with a mixed coniferous and deciduous forest that primarily comprises momi, fir (Abies firma); tsuga, Japanese hemlock (Tsuga sieboldii); akagashi, Japanese evergreen oak (Quercus acuta); keyaki, zelkova (Zelkova serrata); and kuri, chestnut (Castanea crenata), along with yabutsubaki, Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica); shikimi, Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum); and hainoki, Japanese sapphireberry (Symplocos myrtacea).
Attractions
The summit of Mount Kinbo offers spectacular views, with extensive panoramic vistas of downtown Kumamoto City, not to mention the Ariake Sea, the Unzen, Aso, and Kyushu mountains, and the islands of Amakusa. It is also famous for the splendid views that it offers at night.
Forest Study Center in the former Ohagi Gardens is a municipal facility belonging to Kumamoto City. It consists of two buildings: the study center and the observation center. Interactive classes and other events are held here around twice a month. Check the website (※Japanese only) for information on events. http://shinrin-gakushu.net/
Thanks to its low average temperature of 13°C in summer, Kikuchi Gorge has been nicknamed the “natural cooler,” making it an ideal place to seek refuge from the midsummer heat. Along with the refreshing waters of its diverse array of rapids, deep pools, and waterfalls, Kikuchi Gorge offers the chance to enjoy the changing face of the forest in all four seasons, including the delicate young leaves of spring and early summer, shady nooks at the height of summer, and scarlet and gold foliage in the fall.
Other
This forest is next to Aso-Kuju National park. Let’s visit and fully enjoy National Parks as well.
National Parks of Japan -Stories to Experience-http://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/nps/park/aso/index.html
Latest Information
Warnings
Please note that hornets (Vespa mandarinia) and mamushi, Japanese pit viper (Gloydius blomhoffii) are found in this area from spring through to fall.
(Kikuchi Gorge)Watch out for falling branches/rocks.
(Kikuchi Gorge)Swimming is prohibited for safety reasons.
Usage Guide
Entrance fee
Mount Kinbo can be accessed free of charge. At Kikuchi Gorge, high school students and above are asked Donations of ¥200 to contribute to the upkeep of the forest.
Opening seasons and hours
Mount Kinbo can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Facilities
Mount Kinbo: The Forest Study Center is open 9am-5pm from mid-March to mid-November, and 10am-4pm the rest of the year.
Kikuchi Gorge: Open 8am30-5pm when the gorge is open to visitors (April – November) (There is a gate at the entrance, which is closed out of season).
Accommodation options
Mount Kinbo: Hotels and Japanese inns are available in central Kumamoto City (about 20 minutes by car)
Kikuchi Gorge: Hotels and Japanese inns are available in the Kikuchi Onsen hot spring district in Kikuchi City (about 30 minutes by car)
Facility
Toilets and drinking fountains Toilet (accessible)(Outside the forest) Walking trail Parking lot Observation platform(Mount Kinpo) Vending machine Shop(Outside the forest) Restaurant(Outside the forest) Free public wireless LAN (Wi-Fi)(Outside the forest) World Heritage Site / Cultural asset (Mount Kinbo Only,No foreign languages spoken) Accommodation facilities (Hotels/Japanese inns)(Outside the forest)
Map
pdf
Address
(Mount Kinpo) Take, Kawachi-machi, Nishi-ku, Kumamoto-shi / Tensui-machi, Tamana-shi / Harakura, Gyokuto-machi, Tamana-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture
(Kikuchi Gorge) Haru, Kikuchi-shi / Nishiyunoura, Aso-shi
Access
(Distances and times are provided as a guide only)
By public transport
<Access from nearest railway station / bus stop>
  • (Mount Kinpo) JR Kumamoto Station (Kumamoto City Tram: 31 minutes) → Honmyoji-denteimae (Sanko Bus: 13 minutes) → Togenochaya bus stop (32 minutes on foot) → Mount Kinbo trailhead
  • (Kikuchi Gorge) Kumamoto Kotsu Center (Kumamoto Dentetsu Bus: 60 minutes) → Kikuchi-onsen (1 minute on foot) → Kikuchi Gorge (taxi: 30 minutes)
By car
<Access>
  • ・To Mount Kinbo trailhead (2 parking lots, free of charge)
    Kumamoto IC → Towards Fujisakigu-mae (30 minutes)→Pref. Route 1/Kamikumamoto 1 chome (5 minutes)→Pref. Route 1/Togenochaya (10 minutes)→Municipal road/Mount Kinbo trailhead (5 minutes)
  • ・To the former Ohagi Gardens
    Kumamoto IC→Towards Fujisakigu-mae (30 minutes)→Pref. Route 1/Kamikumamoto 1 chome (5 minutes)→ Pref. Route 31/Mitsugumachi (5 minutes)→ Municipal road/Former Ohagi Gardens (10 minutes)
  • ・To Kikuchi Gorge (4 parking lots in total: 2 pay, 2 free of charge)
    Kumamoto IC → Route 57/Ozu-machi Muro → Route 325/Kikuchi-Kitabaru (25 minutes)→ Route 387 → Pref. Route 45→ Kikuchi Gorge (20 minutes)
  • Kumamoto IC →Route 57/Ozu-machi Muro→ Route 325/Kikuchi-Kitabaru (25 minutes)→ Route 387→ Pref. Route 45→ Kikuchi Gorge (20 minutes)
    Ueki IC → Route 3/Ueki-machi Toyoda (3 minutes)→ Pref. Route 53/Towards Kikuchi-city → Route 387 →Pref. Route 45 → Kikuchi Gorge (20 minutes)
Nearby tourist facilities
  • Reigando Cave, Toge-no-Chaya Park, Kumamoto Castle, Mount Aso
Management office contact details
Kumamoto District Forest Office
http://www.rinya.maff.go.jp/kyusyu/kumamoto/index.html
Information on Other Local Tourist Attractions
Kumamoto Castle / Mount Aso
Official Tourist Information
Tourism Policy Department, Kumamoto City Office [External link]
Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Department, Kikuchi City Office [External link]
Kikuchi Gorge Visitor Center [External link]
Recreation Forest Management Committee
Kumamoto Recreation Forest Mount Kinpo District Protection and Management Committee
Protection and Management Committee for Keeping Kikuchi Gorge Beautiful Commerce, Industry, and Tourism Department, Kikuchi City Office
Supporters
Japan Forest Foundation Kumamoto Branch
Other

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